The Colour of a Heart Attack

was what my mother said; 

pale vein blue and too

oxygen-starved for something that

drew blood, was not dead.


An act of love thornier 

than the passage of two sons,

two husbands: Twice 

in a Blue Moon, the first


rose bush I bought -  too soon?

(Second, a white diamond

anniversary gift named, 'Sixty Years!

But Aren't You Bored of This?')


My father circling Epsom Downs

for every multimillion pound

of horse shit; teasing the moon

every twenty-first of June


that the nights are drawing in now. 

I made perfume from the pink

and yellow petals that fell,

until it bubbled on my window sill


above and, shelling out love,

the knock-knock-knock of our

tortoises on the brown grass

past the beds, passed my head.


A bag of new roses is what

I thought you said. 

The colour of a heart attack

Was what my mother said.


Jane Murray Bird lives and writes in Edinburgh. Her poetry has appeared in magazines, including Magma and Mslexia.